Do you remember billboards with profound Islamic reminders that were put up all around Karachi, along with the standees in shops and malls? What a pleasant feeling it was to see the words of Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa), as we ventured outside the house, instead of the usual, glaring advertisements that test our faith to the nth degree.
The organization that initiated this commendable venture is “Muslim Awareness Programme” or MAP for short. Running under the umbrella of “Alwasila Trust”, MAP tries to practically implement the following verses from the Quran:
“Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the Way of your Lord (i.e., Islam) with wisdom (i.e., with the Divine Inspiration and the Quran) and fair preaching.” (An-Nahl 16:125)
“Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Maruf (i.e., Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.” (Aal-Imran 3:104)
The main vision of MAP is as follows: “MAP exists to create a better society based on the principles of the Islamic value system through awareness on social and personal issues that pertain to all individuals.”
From this vision follows a two-pronged agenda:
MAP for Change: MAP brings to light the Ayahs and Ahadeeth about issues rampant in our society, such as religious and regional riots, immodesty in media, Riba, etc.
MAP for Success: MAP highlights key principles from the Quran and the Sunnah that will help a Muslim lead a contented and successful life.
Initially, MAP put up billboards and standees around the city. However, their focus now is more on products with Islamic messages. Their current catalogue includes mugs, car stickers, t-shirts, bags, and hoodies. Each product has on it a catchy, witty one-liner that immediately conveys a deeper message. This certainly does not mean that we have seen the end of MAP billboards. Insha’Allah, they will be up again! Schoolbags will also be part of MAP’s catalogue in the near future.
Hiba approached Mr. Asim Ismail, the founder of “Alwasila Trust”, to ask him, why he opted to bring out paraphernalia, when many other Dawah-based institutes are also doing just that. He replied: “We did it for two reasons. One is to spread more and more awareness. We saw other organizations working on it but on a very small scale. Second reason is to raise some money in order to make MAP self-sustainable.”
They are certainly not restricted to the above-mentioned products, as Mr. Ismail mentioned: “What we want is to have (Islamic) quotes on maximum products, so that it serves as a reminder for the people.” He also mentions a mega project of MAP that is in the pipeline: “We plan to have an online TV channel and a complete media broadcasting company, Insha’Allah, in the next 2-3 years. Right now, we are establishing the MAP brand, so when we open up our media company, we are already known in the market.”
It is noteworthy that MAP offers the concept of ‘online shopping’, without requiring the use of credit cards. All over Pakistan, one can simply browse through their catalogue at http://map.net.pk, place an order and pay cash on delivery. Customers who have used the online purchase option attest that MAP delivers excellent service, Masha’Allah!
With over 8000 fans on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/muslimawarenessprogram), it is evident that the young and old alike are interested in the work that MAP is doing. An advertising agency has now taken over MAP’s sales and social media marketing, which means one will be able to effectively stay in touch with them and do their bit. Overall, Mr. Ismail had the following advice for those who want to participate: “Make Dua, spread the word, sponsor a billboard, invite us to put up stalls on different occasions and buy our products.”